The Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), a national network of cancer treatment hospitals and community oncology programs, has successfully implemented an EMC information infrastructure to support its electronic health record (EHR) initiative.
EHRs, digital files containing patient medical data, enable physicians to increase efficiency and better serve their patients.
The CTCA has implemented EMC technology to achieved more responsive patient care, faster and uninterrupted access to medical data and increased operational efficiency.
In addition, massive storage and server consolidation and automation of data recovery, backup and restore functions have enabled CTCA to manage its growing information infrastructure more cost-efficiently and without adding storage administrative staff.
Chad Eckes, CIO at CTCA, says: "We've fully embraced the EHR because of its potential to help improve patient care and safety more than any other IT initiative. Unlike the traditional approach of incrementally adding new applications and IT components to achieve an EHR, CTCA engineered a complete transformation of our IT application architecture all at once.
"We now have a cohesive, centralised system that integrates every aspect of a patient's care and delivers unprecedented information security and availability."
The EHR is already running in the organisation's three existing cancer hospitals and will be extended to an new all-digital hospital in Phoenix later this month.
"The CTCA system will help CTCA enhance each patient's treatment experience from the point of admission forward," says Eckes. "Everything from viewing medical history in the operating room to submitting insurance claims to filling prescriptions will be done electronically."
To launch the EHR project, CTCA replaced storage directly attached to its servers with a centralised EMC Clariion storage area network (SAN). It also deployed several new applications, such as Eclipsys Sunrise Clinical Manager (SCM) and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server, as well as integrated existing applications, such as Lawson
enterprise resource planning software and Microsoft Exchange e-mail, and into the new infrastructure.
"Each year, we are adding vast quantities of new medical data and clinical applications online, EMC's SAN has enabled us to scale smoothly to storage capacities that have grown by 600% to 60Tb in less than two years," says Eckes.
"Even though the environment is significantly bigger and more diverse, we've been able to maintain our storage needs with a team of two employees who manage all of the SAN, replication and backup support on a part-time basis. With the SAN's ease of use and simplified management, we're able to do a lot more with the same amount of resources."
Rakesh Patel, director of infrastructure & security at CTCA, adds: "We use EMC to replicate new data every second so our clinicians always have a current view of a patient's status. If our datacenter failed, we would recover from clean data as opposed to data that is hours old. We also can bring up our production systems at our remote site in less than two hours compared with the three to four days a recovery used to take us."
In addition, VMware virtualisation solutions have contributed to improving CTCA's information availability. With VMware, CTCA was able to consolidate 70% of its physical servers as virtual machines, reducing the number of physical servers.
CTCA uses RecoverPoint to replicate the virtual
machines stored on the EMC Clariion and to integrate with VMware Site Recovery Manager to automate the recovery process in case of a site failure. If a virtual machine needs more resources than is being provided, CTCA uses VMware's VMotion to move the virtual machine from one physical server to another – online, and without service interruption. In addition, if a physical server fails, VMware High Availability automatically fails over the virtual machines to operational servers.
Patel adds: "That consolidation alone contributes to a more reliable environment because there is less complexity. And, using VMware and EMC recovery tools together ensures that our physical and virtualized environments can be centrally managed and well protected."
CTCA also uses EMC NetWorker software to back up its entire production environment to an EMC Disk Library 4100, which is replicated to another Disk Library. The disk backups are eventually ported to tape for longer-term storage.